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Gaur back in Valmiki Reserve after an increase in grassland cover

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    18th Mar, 2020

Gaur (Bos Gaurus), the largest extant bovine in the world, has not only returned to Bihar’s Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) but is also breeding there due to an increase in grassland cover. 

Context

Gaur (Bos Gaurus), the largest extant bovine in the world, has not only returned to Bihar’s Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) but is also breeding there due to an increase in grassland cover. 

About Gaur (Indian Bison):

  • The Gaur (Bos Gaurus) also called the Indian bison is the largest extant bovine.
  • It is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia. Gaurs are grassland specialists and their main food is grass.
  • The Gaur is a social animal. They generally live in group size of about 30 to 40.
  • The Indian Bison is very much prevalent in the Western Ghats. They prefer evergreen forests and moist deciduous forests.
  • The species is listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species since 1986.
  • They are not found in the Himalayas with an altitude greater than 6,000 ft. They generally stick to the foothills only.
  • Threat: Many possible threats have led to a decline in the population of the Indian Bison.
    • Food Scarcity: The destruction in the grasslands has led to a decline in the availability of food for these animals. Due to the planting of commercially important trees, the lush grassland has diminished which is the prime source of fodder for these wild cattle. 
    • Poaching: The illegal hunting of the Indian bison is done for their commercial value as well as due to the high demand of gaur meat in the illegal market of Nepal – India border.
  • The Indian Bison is deemed as vulnerable according to the IUCN list.
  • Hence, the Indian Government has already included the protection of wild bison in the Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972.
  • It is the State animal of Goa.
  • The local names of the Gaur are: 
    • Seladang — Malaysia
    • Pyoung — Myanmar 
    • Gayal or Mithun — a domesticated form of gaur.

About Valmiki Tiger Reserve:

  • Valmiki Tiger Reserve forms the easternmost limits of the Himalayan Terai forests in India and is the only tiger reserve of Bihar. 
  • Situated in the Gangetic Plains bio-geographic zone of the country, the forest has a combination of bhabar and terai tracts. 
  • Valmiki Tiger Reserve lies in the north-westernmost West Champaran district of Bihar. 
  • Name of the district has been derived from two words Champa and Aranya meaning Forest of Champa trees.
  • Wild mammals found in the forests of Valmiki Tiger Reserve are Tiger, Sloth bear, Leopard, Wild dog, Bison, Wild boar etc. Several species of deer and antelopes viz barking deer, spotted deer, hog deer, sambar and blue bull are also found here. 
  • In Madanpur forest block a large number of Indian flying foxes can be sighted. 
  • The Reserve has rich avifauna diversity. Over 250 species of birds have been reported.

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